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Colorado Senate Passes Bill to Double the Cannabis Possession Limit and Expand Expungement

The Colorado Senate approved legislation that would expand expungement and double the threshold for illegal cannabis possession April 28.

House Bill 1090, sponsored by Rep. Alex Valdez and Sen. Julie Gonzales—both democrats—cleared the House in a 45-19 vote on March 17 and most recently passed the Senate in a 23-11 vote. 

Under current law, adults 21 years and older who possess up to 2 ounces of cannabis can be charged with a drug petty offense punishable by a fine of up to $100. H.B. 1090 would remove this offense. 

According to the bill summary, the legislation would also change the definition of illegal possession of cannabis by an underage person, increasing the limit from 1 ounce or less to 2 ounces of cannabis or less.

In addition, the bill would permit a person to petition to have his or her conviction record sealed if he or she were convicted of a Class 3 felony cannabis cultivation offense.

The measure would require the court to seal a conviction record, without objection from the district attorney, for a cannabis possession offense that is otherwise not sealed, if the person has not been previously convicted of a criminal offense since release from supervision or since the final disposition of all criminal proceedings, the bill summary states.

According to the bill's fiscal note, roughly 27 people are charged each year with possession of 2 ounces of cannabis or less, and only 32 criminal cases from the last 20 years were found eligible under this bill—or fewer than two cases a year. 

The bill now heads to Gov. Jared Polis for final approval.

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